Seventh inning heart-break as ASU softball faces ranked foes

ASU softball got a good test this weekend at the Judi Garmen Classic in California.  The results may have been a little unsettling.

The Sun Devils opened the four-day tournament against a couple of nationally-ranked teams and lost both games.  To make it all the more frustrating, each game came down to the final inning.

In the opening game of the Classic, held at Fullerton, the Devils fell to No. 15 Texas in a 1-0 loss that was won by the Longhorns with a home run in the seventh inning, and then to No. 8 Oklahoma, 5-4.

ASU entered the tournament ranked No. 7 nationally, but that will likely change after this weekend.

Hillary Bach was on the mound in the first game on Thursday and kept the Longhorns in check until the sophomore ace threw a 2-2 pitch to Nadia Taylor that was poked over the left- field fence.  In the second game, against the Sooners, the Devils took a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning, thanks to a double by Annie Lockwood to score both runs.  The game was tied at 4-4 in the seventh on a Caylyn Carlson RBI single and a wild pitch that scored another run.

But a walk-off home run in the seventh by OSU’s Katie Norris closed out the Sooners’ win – and a disheartening first day of the tournament.

The loss to Texas broke a 5-5 tie in meetings between the two schools, while the Sooners evened their series to 10-10.

The ladies regrouped quickly and took out their frustration on Friday, beating DePaul, 8-2; on Saturday with a win over the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, 10-0; and on Sunday in a 6-4 comeback win over Purdue.

Against DePaul, a team the Devils had beaten five out of six previous meetings, ASU came from behind to tie the game in the second inning on a home run by Carlson, added two more in the third when Carlson hit her eighth homer of the season, and then the final four runs in the fifth on four separate hits.

The UNLV game ended early when the Devils piled up 10 unanswered runs by the fifth inning.  It was Carlson again, as she hit her third grand slam in two weeks, making it a 6-0 game in the third.  In the fifth, it was Katelyn Boyd’s turn to go deep, hitting her 12th round bagger this year and giving Bach her sixth shut-out of the season and running her record to 13-1.

ASU has pretty much owned the Rebels over the years, running up a 23-5 all-time record against them.  Coach Clint Myers has lost to them just once in the five years he has been directing the program.

In the finale against Purdue, the Devils found themselves behind 4-3 coming out of the sixth inning, but they got RBIs from Katie Crabb, Ashley Muenz, and Talor Haro to go ahead 6-4 and hold on to win.  Sam Parlich got the win on the mound, with Bach coming in for the last three outs to sit the Boilermakers down.

Next weekend the Devils get to stay home.  They are 27-4 and looking ahead now to a four-game home series against Cal Poly that will begin Friday.

(Photo credit: ASU Athletics)